Response from John Haynes, Director of Operational Services, TWBC - 13 September 2001

Operational Services
Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS

Ms Katherine Quinnell
The Telephone House Neighbours Association
37 Church Road

13 September 2002

Dear Ms Quinnell

Re: Telephone House

I refer to your letter dated 1 September 2002 and my holding reply dated 4 September 2002. I have now investigated the matter detailed in your letter insofar as is practical given the fact that you are referring to events which took place some 6 months ago.

The Environmental Department's response to your letter was not satisfactory. They did attempt to make contact with you to discuss the matter in detail: an officer called to see you at 37 Church Road but no-one was available. He left one of our standard calling cards asking you to contact him but, as far as he can remember, you did not do so. However, he should have followed the matter up and made further attempts to contact you in person or in writing. This was not done and I apologise.

I do not consider that it is now practical to undertake a full enquiry into the material removed in February unless you can provide me with more detailed information. In any event, I do not consider that any enquiry that might be conducted would involve the police. The removal of hazardous waste is more likely to be a breach of the Health & Safety Act than a criminal act in the terms in which I believe you are using these words. Clearly, however, if, as a result of further evidence from you, an enquiry were undertaken and if, during the course of that enquiry, we suspected that a criminal act may have been committed we would, of course, call in the police.

With respect to item 2 in your letter, we cannot, of course, assume that any works undertaken were in breach of Planning Condition 15. In a general sense, however, breaches of planning conditions are issues that are matters for the Planning Authority. A variety of courses of action are available to the authority with respect to breaches of conditions dependent on the individual circumstances. (I assume you are aware that the Scheme of Works Condition C15 matter has progressed and we have rejected the scheme submitted by the developer.)

I apologise for the delay in responding to you (due to the investigation I have been undertaking) and that I cannot pursue the matter without further evidence. However, if that evidence is forthcoming, I will revisit the issue. The type of evidence that would be useful to me would be dates and times of alleged works, description of works (as far as possible), the type of machinery used, the number of persons on site or any information that may enable us to identify any organisation or company involved.

Yours sincerely

John Haynes
Director of Operational Services

Karin Fankhauser, Environmental Services
Peter Collinwood, Health & Safety Executive Inspector

What was removed from Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells, in February 2002?